Manny's Reviews > The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
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- So are you still trudging through the Margaret Atwood?

- George, you should stop being so dismissive! Have you ever read it?

- Well, I think I got as far as chapter three. Typical po-mo cleverness with a story inside a story inside... anyway, I decided I couldn't take any more, so I gave up.

- So do you want to know what it's about?

- You're going to tell me, aren't you?

- Only if you want me to.

- Okay, okay. I want you to. Snuggle up and tell me all about it. Satisfied?

- Mmm. Well, satisfied for now anyway. You know, George, you actually might like it. Some of it's a bit depressing, but there's this very sexy thread where in each episode she meets her lover, and they lie in bed together and he tells her this bizarre science-fiction story...

- A bit like we're doing now?

- A bit.

- I like that. So what kind of story is it?

- Well, he's a pulp SF writer, so it's very pulpy, but in a good way. There's this planet with three suns and seven moons and deadly mountains haunted by beautiful nude undead women with azure hair and eyes like snake-filled pits...

- That does sound sexy. I like the snake-filled pits too.

- I knew you would. And he's telling it in a very clever, ironic way, and some of the time he's just having fun, and some of the time it's sort of about him and her.

- Where does the blind assassin come in?

- Well, in the science-fiction story, there's this character who's a blind master assassin. That's sort of the guy telling the story. And he falls in love with this beautiful girl, who's supposed to be sacrificed on the altar. She's sort of the girl he's telling the story to.

- How could a master assassin be blind?

- Honestly, George, don't be so literal about everything. Anyway, you liked Daredevil, didn't you?

- Okay, you got me. Carry on.

- Well, the science-fiction story is the innermost one. The guy and the girl are characters in a book that was written by a girl who killed herself by driving off a bridge...

- Why did she kill herself?

- You don't find out until the end of the book. It's a whydunnit...

- You mean there's a plot and everything?

- Honestly, George, of course there's a plot! There's even a twist.

- Wow. Okay, so the girl killed herself driving off the bridge?

- Yes, and her sister, who's now very old, is writing about her and her book, and what happened to make her write it.

- And I suppose the book she wrote is about stuff that happened to her and her sister?

- Could be. I don't want to drop too many spoilers.

- I still don't see why it has to be so complicated.

- Well, you thought Inception was great, didn't you? All those layers?

- Yeah...

- Okay, it's a bit like that. It really works. But you'd have trouble explaining why to someone who hadn't seen it.

- Mmm.

- Mmm?

- You know, it's Valentine's Day.

- It is. Sorry, I won't try and sell you any more Margaret Atwood for a while. George. Mmm.

- Mmm.

- Mmm!

*************************

- George?

- Mmm?

- Were you having a dream?

- I think so.

- What kind of dream? You had such a funny look on your face.

- A dream inside a dream inside a dream. You know, I might read that book after all.
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Reading Progress

02/05/2011 page 25
4.0% "Start well!" 1 comment
02/08/2011 page 50
8.0% "Having once whispered I want to die, I now realise that this wish will indeed be fulfilled, and sooner rather than later. No matter that I've changed my mind about it."
02/10/2011 page 95
15.0% ""Coffee with forgiveness, porridge with forgiveness, forgiveness on the buttered toast" Okay. Time for breakfast."
02/10/2011 page 130
20.0% "In the week before she died - one of those dreadful mornings - my mother said a strange thing, though I didn't consider it strange at the time. She said: "Underneath it all, your father loves you.""
02/10/2011 page 175
27.0% "God never slept, it said in the hymn. Sooner or later he was bound to do something unpleasant, as he'd often done in the Bible."
02/11/2011 page 205
32.0% "Their tutor has started putting his hand up little Laura's skirt. "Why don't you tell Reenie?" asks her sister. "She might not believe me," says Laura. "You don't.""
02/12/2011 page 300
47.0% "I'm pleased to see that the different threads do in fact link up..."
02/13/2011 page 380
59.0% ""I'm not senile," I snapped. "If I burn the house down, it will be on purpose.""
02/13/2011 page 428
67.0% "All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel."
02/13/2011 page 550
86.0% ""Laura, what are you doing?" I said. "That's the Bible!" "I'm cutting out the parts I don't like.""

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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message 1: by Jordan (new)

Jordan Have to admit I'm sorta of obsessed with Atwood. Every time I read her she blows my mind.

Love this quote: "All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel."

I want to know more about that one.


Manny Jordan wrote: "Love this quote: "All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel."

I want to know more about that one."


In the story-within-the-story-within-the-story, he's just introduced some wolves. His lover objects, and he gives this elegant explanation.

I will post a proper review in the next day or two!


Jennifer (aka EM) Looking forward to it.


notgettingenough Hastily checks my review. Phew....didn't actually mention only getting to chapter three. George was sounding horribly...horribly...familiar.


message 5: by Jordan (new)

Jordan How does it rank with Robber Bride?


Manny Jordan wrote: "How does it rank with Robber Bride?"

I enjoyed The Robber Bride more when I read it. But maybe The Blind Assassin will stay with me longer.


message 7: by Alan (new)

Alan thanks for the review Manny. Don't think I'll bother though..


Manny Alan wrote: "thanks for the review Manny. Don't think I'll bother though.."

So I didn't convince you? I thought it really was very good... if you liked other Atwoods, you'll probably like this one too. I definitely preferred it to The Handmaid's Tale, and I see you gave that five stars.


message 9: by Alan (new)

Alan I loved The Hnadmaid's Tale, and Oryx and Crake, and even Surfacing (though I read the latter some time ago now, and HT). My daughter's a big MA fan (I think we had this conversation on another thread - Wilderness Tips, which I bought her and am looking forward to reading it too). Howevr i didn't much like Inception, and I don't find azure hair and snake filled pits sexy.. just me I spose


Manny Damn. I clearly picked the wrong way to sell it. Well, no marketing strategy works on all demographics...


message 11: by Jordan (new)

Jordan So are you talking about a main Alpha Female Character? You know how I feel about them, especially Atwood's female characters.

I have stayed away from this book because so many people had a hard time with it. However Im starting to get more and more interested .


Manny Hm... no real alpha females here. Well, perhaps one, but she's only a minor character...


Martha☀ Brilliant review! Initially I read your review when I was struggling to understand the book within the book. The reference to Inception helped and I trudged on. And now, having finished the book, I had to let you know that I am glad you gave me such encouragement!


Manny Thank you Martha, and I'm glad to hear it helped! I read the book not long after seeing Inception, and it was impossible not to associate them...


Cecily I'm glad this review only popped up just after I'd written my own.

Great fun, and pretty accurate as well (and far briefer than I manage).


message 16: by Manny (last edited May 13, 2015 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manny Thank you Cecily! I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't try to elaborate the story of George and his enigmatic girlfriend...


Cecily I'm sure you will...

I look forward to it.

And you can certainly do "pulpy, but in a good way".


Manny you can certainly do "pulpy, but in a good way"

Hey, that was a flattering compliment to start the day with! Thank you Cecily!


message 19: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan Rice Just rereading your review post-The Blind Assassin, Manny, and I realize I forgot about the Scheherazade aspect. It's not unlike that Murakami short story I read.


Manny If you like Scheherazade-inspired stories, Jan Kjærstad's The Seducer and the other two books in the trilogy are perhaps even further in that direction. Fantastic novels.


message 21: by Seemita (new) - added it

Seemita Freaking good dose of fun! :)


Manny Thank you Seemita! And the book is ten times as much fun.


message 23: by Seemita (new) - added it

Seemita Manny wrote: "Thank you Seemita! And the book is ten times as much fun."

Well noted!


message 24: by Nandakishore (new) - added it

Nandakishore Varma Terrific review. The books goes on my ever-growing TBR pile immediately. Seems just the sort of crazy thing that my inner Kafka loves.


Cecily Nandakishore wrote: "Terrific review. The books goes on my ever-growing TBR pile immediately. Seems just the sort of crazy thing that my inner Kafka loves."

I'm quickly catching up, and for a moment, thought this comment was on Manny's review of the Kim Kardashian book that, unimaginatively, turns out not to be scratch'n'sniff (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...). I rather liked the idea of Kafka appreciating that!

Anyway, this is an excellent book as well (though I don't see much of a link with Kafka).


message 26: by Nandakishore (new) - added it

Nandakishore Varma Cecily wrote: "Anyway, this is an excellent book as well (though I don't see much of a link with Kafka)."

Hell, no, no link with Kafka - I just associate any book not following narrative rules with him, that's all. The Trial was the first weird book I read and loved.


message 27: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon What a great sales pitch...review! I've been putting off reading this one for years due to reviews saying it was too complicated and not worth the effort but you've definitely peaked my interest and made me reconsider. It's now is on my TBR pile.


Manny Ah, thank you Sharon. You must understand that Margaret Atwood and I are just friends. I mean, we barely know each other.


message 29: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan Rice Manny wrote: "If you like Scheherazade-inspired stories, Jan Kjærstad's The Seducer and the other two books in the trilogy are perhaps even further in that direction. Fantastic novels."

Thanks, Manny. I just went and looked into it.... Good first name, too. At first I thought you'd just left out the comma.


Manny What a fine example of the importance of punctuation!

It is indeed a good first name. Though I suspect he has his own way of pronouncing it.


message 31: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan Rice And even another language!


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